“A writer is a foreign country.” –Marguerite Duras
Did you recently start seeing a girl who writes? You might be thinking, “Score!” and high-five your inner hipster/wannabe-lit-kid, but not so fast. There are a few things you should know before you start buying tickets to poetry readings and padding your bookshelves with works that don’t have “For Dummies” in the title. From the top:
She is more Pocahontas than Cinderella
This does not mean she is best friends with raccoons and talks to trees (though she might). It means she is restless and won’t be content with what she has, even if it is a glass slipper. She always wants to know what else is out there and will go to great lengths to find it because she needs to be thrilled, to be shown something new, to learn something. She needs upheaval, adventure, because to her that is inspiration, and inspiration might be worth leaving you behind. She would rather be caught alone in the pouring rain than be safe at home on couch with you because things don’t happen at home on the couch. Things happen in the rain.
She takes note of everything you do
Do you remember what you talked about when you had dinner with her the very first time? Do you remember fumbling with your chopsticks and not knowing what beer to order and checking your reflection in the window? She does. Without trying she remembers everything, and stores it away for when she needs to put words down on paper. Nothing you do will escape her: not the shoes you picked to wear, not the warmth of your hand behind her neck, and not the quiet words you said right before you kissed her. She can’t help it. She soaks in everything around her.
She will create characters out of you
Don’t take it personally; it’s not just you. To her, everyone is a character because they speak certain words and dress a certain way and walk a certain way. She’s collecting bits and pieces from them–and from you–to use in her work. You, or a part of you, will appear in her writing in some form. It may be only the shape of your jaw or the way you make coffee in the morning, but pieces of you will turn into words by her hand. The dinners and bike rides and conversations you share are not just that: they are exercises in character study, and you are simply part of the process.
Sometimes she’s quiet
It’s not that she doesn’t have anything to say or doesn’t want to talk to you, but sometimes she is quiet because she is too busy taking in everything around her to speak. At every moment her senses are being flooded with novelty, and she needs to capture it all: the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, everything. She doesn’t want to let any of it escape, not even the tiniest part because that might be the part she needs. That seemingly drab conversation she heard on the bus might put everything together. The peeling paint on your neighbor’s house that you never noticed might spark the next great idea. Or it might not. But she can’t take that chance. Sometimes she has to be quiet in order to sift through what the world is giving her.
You will fade
Like most things she has known and loved, your initial brilliance will dull with time and with familiarity. One hundred purple metaphors could describe this in detail, but simply put: she gets bored. Dreadfully, crushingly, recklessly bored. You are no longer a curiosity to her because she knows you, has seen you, has felt you. She cannot imagine you anymore because you have become real. She cannot wish you are something you’re not because she knows the truth, and truth is the enemy of her dreams. This is not to say she doesn’t like you, or even love you, but you will never be what you once were to her. To even hope to reclaim the place you once occupied in her mind you must do something drastic like move away. Do her a favor and put an ocean between you two. You will always be golden to her that way.
She will pick writing over you
It sounds harsh, but do not crucify her over this. Would you punish someone for breathing? For sleeping? For letting the heart go on pumping blood to the brain? That is what writing is to her. It is an essential function for life, and she cannot manage without it. You—you are outside her, and she does not need you. She may want you—feverishly, even—but she does not need you. Therefore, do not be surprised if she cancels plans with you or simply does not make them because she is writing. Or dreaming. Dreaming is a critical part of the process, and this also may steal time from you.
So go ahead. Date a girl who writes. But do not say you weren’t warned.